Spinach Salad with Baked Pears

I’m lovin’ this delicious salad made with sweet baked pears, salty blue cheese, and crunchy pecans, all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette!   

I was asked by my friends at the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network to participate in the #tastetruvia campaign.  I received Truvia samples and was compensated for my time. I really didn’t need any samples because I have a ton of the stuff already in my pantry.  I use Truvia at home quite a bit, but not for what you would think. Since I’m the self-proclaimed worst baker on the planet, I use it more in my everyday cooking rather than baked treats.

Since I’m always thinking of ways to reduce my sugar intake, Truvia is a natural go-to. Sugar is definitely something that causes a lot of problems for my clients. For most of them, the more sugar they eat, the more sugar they want. If I’m able to find clean ways to help them enjoy sweet foods without taking in a lot of sugar, I’m all for it. I always recommend Truvia for my Nourish participants, too.

I mostly love using stevia in salad dressings and sauces. The vinaigrette in this scrumptious pear salad is a staple at my house. Most vinaigrettes benefit from a little hit of sweet to counteract the acid from the vinegar and Truvia is the perfect way to get the sweet taste without the added sugar. One packet of Truvia provides the same sweetness as two teaspoons of real sugar, so a little goes a long way!

The baked pears definitely benefit from a toss in some coconut oil and a little Truvia. Start with firm pears and watch as they roast up into sweet and delicious morsels of yum.

Truvia is a natural, great-tasting, zero-calorie sweetener made with stevia leaf extract, the sweetest part of the stevia leaf.  I love that Truvia comes in both a spoonable container and throw-in-your-purse packets. It’s pretty convenient, too. You can find it at most national grocery stores — even Target!

I made this pear salad for my husband as a special treat for lunch. We both work from home and he loves being my taster when I’m creating new recipes. He also loves all things sweet so I knew the baked pears in the salad would be right up his alley. I’m thinking it would be perfect with a grilled salmon filet for MY lunch, too!

Here’s how I made it:

Spinach Salad with Baked Pears

Serving Size: 1

Spinach Salad with Baked Pears

Ingredients

    For the Dressing:
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 packet Truvía® Natural Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Pears:
  • 1 firm Anjou, Bartlett, or Asian Pear, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp toasted pecans
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. For the Baked Pears: Preheat oven to 350. Peel and halve the pear lengthwise. Remove the core with a paring knife. Set each half cut-side down and slice lengthwise into fifths. Melt coconut oil and toss pears with oil and 1/2 packet of Truvia. Arrange pears in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet or dish and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and caramelized. Let pears cool while preparing salad.
  2. For the dressing: Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, remaining half of Truvia packet, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Layer spinach, pecans, and blue cheese in a serving bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss gently to combine; top with cooled pears. Serve immediately.
http://foodconfidence.com/2017/01/18/spinach-salad-with-baked-pears/

The Best Fall Salad Recipe Roundup

The best way to celebrate the flavors and variety of the fall harvest is with a delicious fall salad!  

he best way to celebrate the flavors and variety of the fall harvest is with a delicious fall salad!

 

Salads may seem like only a summer thing, but not so fast! I’m here to convince you that salads can be enjoyed all year long. Say hello to fall salads with butternut squash, apples, cranberries, nuts and other delicious flavors that give salad a delicious autumn twist.


Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

This fall salad is the perfect use for roasted cauliflower and potatoes, two of my favorite veggies to roast. I roasted them pretty simply with just olive oil, salt and pepper. The flavor combo is simple, yet amazing!

cauliflower_salad

Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

I love this simple yet grown up salad with green olives and bitter radicchio lettuce from The Kitchn. It’s the type of salad you can whip up so easily that you end up eating it several days per week!

fall-salad-raddichio

Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Salad

Make a batch of Kristina’s Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Salad to eat during the week for a quick and healthy lunch. This grain salad made with quinoa, apples, tart cherries, spinach and feta is so tasty you don’t eat realize how healthy it is! Serve on a bed of baby spinach for some crunch!

cinnamon-apple-cherry-quinoa-salad-2

Cauliflower Salad with Fennel & Green Apple

Who says a delicious and satisfying salad needs lettuce?  My hearty sliced cauliflower salad is a tasty mix of tangy flavor. It’s crunchy with a slight hint of licorice from the fennel. The green apple brings a little sweet and the pomegranate adds a shot of antioxidants (plus a gorgeous color!)

cauliflower_fennel_salad

Apple Pecan and Feta Salad

Here’s a beautiful fall salad from Jessica in the Kitchen.  Crisp apples, crunchy pecans, sweet cranberries and deliciously-tart feta cheese is gently mixed mixed with a lovely honey-apple dressing. I love the the combination of sweet and tart.

apple-pecan-and-feta-salad-with-honey-apple-dressing-is-loaded-with-fall-flavours-and-is-sweet-crunchy-and-good-for-you-apple-salad-fall-healthy-vegetarian-2

Lentil Salad with Kale, Tomatoes, Almonds in a Lemon Vinaigrette

Lentils add protein, fiber and texture to any salad! My favorite Trader Joe’s pre-steamed lentils make it into many a salad at our house. This simple kale salad by my dietitian pal, E.A. Stewart (aka The Spicy RD) is a perfect side dish on a busy weeknight.

lentil-salad-2

Smoky Kale Salad with Egg

I created this delicious and super simple smoky kale salad with egg for a quick weekday lunch. I love the flavor from the smoked paprika and the kale is super filling. I was able to whip it up pretty easily using ingredients I had on hand. I love sprinkling all of my salads with pumpkin seeds, don’t you?

smoky-kale-salad-with-egg

Autumn Chopped Salad

This autumn-inspired salad from Iowa Girl Eats highlights all of my favorite fall flavors…pears, apples, roasted peanuts, and dried cranberries. A feast for the eyes, and the stomach! Isn’t it a beauty?

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Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

If you love the idea of a warm salad, try this delicious butternut squash salad from Minimalist Baker. This fall salad is a perfect side dish for autumn gatherings or as a satisfying lunch for work. Yum!

roasted-butternut-squash-salad-with-spinach-and-caramelized-pecans-minimalistbaker-com_

Vegetarian Fall Harvest Salad

This fall salad is Alex’s take on Panera’s Orchard Harvest salad. I love the combo of crisp apples, honeyed pecans, creamy goat cheese and cider dressing. Quinoa was added for extra protein and fiber as well as a large bed of mache lettuce blend. I could eat this gorgeous salad every day! 

fall-harvest-salad

Shredded Collard Salad with Apple

I am a serious Belgian endive lover! I add chopped endive to almost every salad I make (and of course a bit of creamy avocado is a must). Green apples add a nice tart crunch and the dressing is about as addictive as it gets. It’s an Asian-inspired vinaigrette that is super easy to whip up.  I think it’s the perfect complement to the collards and will soon become your go-to.

shredded_collard_salad_with_apple__900_600

Autumn Couscous Salad

This fall salad from Foodie Crush has some amazing flavor from the apple juice, sage, and fennel (and it only gets better the longer the flavors have time to meld together). I love the addition of chewy Israeli couscous, too! This one is a must-try!

autumn-couscous-27

P.S. Looking for more clean salads? I rounded up my favorites ​here​.

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pistachio Pesto

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pistachio Pesto

June is zoodle mania in our house. There’s something about the start of summer that gets my spiralizer hummin’! This salad is a play on a old favorite of mine: this roasted corn and spiralized zucchini noodle salad with cherry tomatoes. I ate the heck out of that salad in 2014.

I love this recipe because it’s veggie on veggie on veggie. Could it be healthier? I think not. The first level of veggie is the spinach pesto. I threw some baby spinach, parsley, pistachios, miso paste, and a little Parmesan cheese into the food processor. I blended that up to create this beautiful creamy pesto that I tossed with the spiralized zucchini noodles, which are the second level of veggies. Then I tossed the zoodles with sauteed asparagus and chopped cherry tomatoes, the third level of veggies.

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pistachio Pesto

This zoodle salad is truly satisfying and super tasty. Why is it so satisfying? Well for one, between the spinach and the veggies, it’s packed with fiber. I also didn’t skimp on the fat. I used pistachios, olive oil and a bit of Parmesan cheese in my pesto. I could have just eaten my spiralized zucchini with some marinara sauce, that would have been quick and easy. But it likely wouldn’t have been as satisfying for the long haul. You have to add some fat and a bit of protein to make a truly satisfying meal.

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Spinach Pesto

For some people, this is definitely not enough to keep them full. I totally get that! This would be a side dish for my husband (and it was!). He would need a protein and another carb on the side to feel “done.” He grilled up some steak and had a small sweet potato with this salad. I was actually okay with it as is. Keep in mind I had 2.5 times the serving he did. My dinner strategy is to get full off more veggies. It works!

Asparagus and Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto

However you need to make your veggie noodles work for you, I say get it done. Whether as a side dish or a main meal, spiralizing your veggies is a great way to eat more of what does a body good — especially this time of year when we have tasty tomatoes, fresh corn and tons of zucchini to look forward to!

Need a little more inspiration? Below are a few more recipes:

Sauteed Asparagus with Zucchini Noodles & Spinach Pesto

Yield: 2-3 servings

Sauteed Asparagus with Zucchini Noodles & Spinach Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 zucchinis, spiralized
  • 1-2 Tbsp veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • sea salt
  • For the Pesto:
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Snap the asparagus by the ends and chop into bite sized pieces. Heat a saute pan with 1 tsp olive oil and add asparagus, let saute for 1 minute. Add broth and cook until broth evaporates and asparagus are cooked, but still a bit crunchy (you don't want mushy asparagus).
  2. Spiralize zucchini and set aside. Slice the tomatoes. In a food processor, add all the pesto ingredients, except the oil. Process while slowly adding oil through the top. Keep pulsing until well combined, scraping down sides, if needed.
  3. Toss zoodles with some of the pesto and place in a serving bowl. Top with asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately.
http://foodconfidence.com/2016/06/02/spiralized-zucchini-noodles-spinach-pesto/

zoodlesandasparagus